Dubai: Indian actor and author Anupam Kher had a Dubai audience rolling with laughter and feeling emotional with his candid and unscripted take on life during the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature on Saturday.
Drawing from his own highs and lows penned in his book, The Best Thing About You is You!, Kher urged the audience to stay positive in adversity and cracked jokes to lighten the mood.
The 58-year-old has over 450 films to his credit and is best known to Westerners for his role in box-office hits like Bend it Like Beckham and Bride and Prejudice.
Kher’s book dwells on setbacks and illustrates how they can be blessings in disguise if met with positive reaction and outlook.
The Bollywood superstar also shared with Dubai fans personal anecdotes in his witty yet philosophical style.
“Success is boring, failure teaches you millions of things. There’s this paranoia of parents wanting children to do so much, it’s a waste of energy,” Kher said.
“We’ve lost that sense of innocence and humour. Be comfortable with who you are… We fear ‘what will people think?’ Who are these ‘people’?”
Kher recalled how his school teacher was discouraging but he eventually persevered. “He used to tell me ‘if you run in a race alone you’ll still come second.’”
“There was nothing special and extraordinary about me. I wanted to act to stand out. I was good at mimicking people.”
Deciding in fifth grade to embark on that journey, Kher said he later “even ran away from home and stole Rs100 [Dh6.74] from my mother’s temple” to make it to an audition.
Kher revealed for the first time that his new book would be based on the times he shared with his father, who died over a year ago. On his deathbed, his father told him to “live life” as his last words, Kher said.
“My father was an ordinary man but extraordinary person. He was my best friend, he never acted like my father,” he added.
He also shared some insights into stage acting, mentioning how he used to think about loved ones to make himself cry for emotional scenes.
The session was moderated by Sanjay Verma, the consul general of India in Dubai.